Welcome to this glorious Friday, October 16, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. I hope we can engage with each moment in a way that is meaningful.
I’ve been thinking about best friends and how important they are in my life. I feel grateful and comforted by the fact that I have a best friend who is there for me when times get rough; someone who is reliable, trustworthy, kind and compassionate. My best friend doesn’t judge me. She is empathetic when I struggle, supportive when I feel insecure and afraid, and calls me out on my BS when appropriate. My best friend helps to hold me accountable and is honest and dependable. If she says she is going to do something, I know in my heart that she’ll make every effort to do so. My best friend is also human; she sometimes makes mistakes. Nevertheless, she does the best she can. And because she is important to me, and I know that it’s OK to be an imperfect human, I’m able to forgive her – because that’s what best friends do.
Not that I want to get rid of the one I already have, but imagine if we could also be our own best friend. Imagine the potential if we were to look in the mirror and say, “I am your best friend and I won’t let you down.”
I was in a conversation recently with one who I regard as a wonderful teacher and dear friend. He shared with me that Mindfulness is about learning how to trust ourselves. I’d never really thought about Mindfulness in this way. When I considered for how long I’ve struggled with insecurity, low self-confidence and self-worth, I was struck by this idea of being trustworthy towards myself.
Each of us likely knows someone who is always saying that they are going to do this or that and seldom do they ever accomplish what they commit to. It’s difficult to trust a person like this. If we continually say that we are going to do something and never implement it, how can we possibly trust ourselves? We trust those who have integrity, who do what they say they will.
How many times do we fail ourselves? Actually, not as many as our mind tells us. In fact, we do many wonderful things for ourselves each and every day that typically go unnoticed. We get up, make our beds, brush our teeth, nourish our bodies with food, bathe, go mindfully to work, and help others. Regardless, there are times when we do fail ourselves.
At the beginning of each year, which is coming up, many people make a New Year’s Resolution. It’s not uncommon for these to fall to the wayside within weeks after setting the intention. The fact is, each of us could easily create a list of five things that we could do for ourselves that would improve our life dramatically, and yet we don’t do them. Deep down, this can be seen as failure. It gnaws away at us. We tend to “punish” ourselves. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t punish a best friend. We are supportive of our best friends in their endeavors to better themselves. We help to hold them accountable and are kind and empathetic when they are unsuccessful – we don’t judge them. Yet, we tend to beat ourselves up. What if we could treat ourselves like a best friend?
What if we looked in the mirror each morning and said, “today I am going to be your best friend.” I believe that we could learn to trust ourselves. Like we would do for our best friend, there would be no need to be harshly judgmental or overly critical of ourselves when we fail. As we would any best friend, we would forgive easily as we are simply doing our best; our self-criticism would turn to opportunities to grow and learn.
If our best friend were taking on too much, we would be honest with them. Can we be our own best friend and be honest with ourselves? If we can learn to be honest with ourselves, we wouldn’t do things that would later bring about suffering. How could we ever trust someone who kept doing things that later harmed them and created suffering? That would wear anyone down and be destructive of a relationship. Though we may never give up on them, it would be difficult to have a best friend who struggles to be honest.
A daily Mindfulness practice can help to develop the skills that will support your well-being and give you the tools to live in alignment with your intentions. Whether you are wanting to accomplish some task, become kinder and more compassionate, or be less critical and judgmental, a comprehensive Mindfulness practice can help you to be your own, trustworthy, best friend.
I love you and there isn’t anything you can do about it,
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